The entire public health picture
Last updated 10/28/2020 at 5:18pm
As we now come upon the seventh month of lockdowns in San Diego County, I see us getting further and further away from our original goal. As I’m writing this, COVID-19 patients make up 5% of current hospitalizations, which is a credit to our public health officials and the people of San Diego. We have done an outstanding job of protecting our most vulnerable. While positive cases may be rising, our hospital capacity remains strong.
However, businesses are still suffering. We still have thousands out of work and San Diego County is estimated to lose $12.4 billion in 2020. This isn’t an argument for putting public health before the economy, but the economic loss due to the response is leading to a different public health crisis.
For our next Board meeting, I’ve asked County staff to provide a more complete picture of the effects of the COVID-19 response. While we normally receive an update on the latest numbers of positive cases, hospitalizations and outbreaks, I’m asking for a more holistic view.
I would like to receive an update on accidental overdose deaths, suicide rates and other behavioral health challenges that have emerged over the past seven months. I also would like the latest figures when it comes to the unemployment rate, lost wages and losses to regional tourism. I believe all of these will paint the entire public health picture.
While we should focus on the issues at hand - protecting our most vulnerable and maintaining our hospital capacity - I also believe we should not let a bigger problem develop. Lost wages, plus a rising unemployment rate and lockdown orders combine for much larger issues on the horizon.